Waiver Wire Report (Week 21)

The following ranking was one of the hardest I’ve done this season. It’s tough to rank the players based on season-long versus short-term
value with just a few weeks left. Some players are useful for just a week, but that’s all some managers need. Additionally, they are all not well-rounded contributors. Everyone has at least one major flaw (e.g. limited playing time, speed-only option). For these reasons, don’t just add the top player available. Go down a few spots to see if there is a better addition.

In the article, I cover the players using CBS’s (40% or less initial roster rate) and Yahoo’s ADD/DROP rates. Both hosting sites have the option for daily and weekly waiver wire adds. CBS uses a weekly change while Yahoo looks at the last 24 hours. Yahoo is a great snapshot of right now while CBS ensures hot targets from early in the week aren’t missed. The players are ordered for redraft leagues by my rest-of-season preference grouped by starters, relievers, and hitters.

Hitters

Jonathan Villar: With Lindor and Baez on the IL, Villar has been playing all the time providing speed (10 SB) and power (14 HR). The key will be how much he continues to play if/when Lindor and Baez return.

Nicky Lopez: He’s turned into a decent source of stolen bases (15 SB) and batting average (.273), but just got his first home run of the season this past week.

Luis Arraez: He continues to hit for batting average while near the top of the Twins lineup. And is qualified at a ton of positions. A must-roster in all leagues for being at least a bench bat.

Pavin Smith: A decent hitter (.271/.326/.409) who is qualified at first base and outfield but has only stolen one base all season and hasn’t hit a home run over the past month.

Evan Longoria: While he was decent (.280/.376/.516) before going on the IL, he’s still dealing with some hand soreness since returning and has only started three of six games. Bryant and Flores have played third base in his place. He is tough to value without knowing the playing time situation.

Lewis Brinson: After being on fire two weeks ago, he followed it up by hitting .125/.192/.167 the past week. he’s played fine this season (.259/.304/.468) and should be a fine fourth or fifth outfielder in deeper leagues.

Frank Schwindel: The 29-year-old is hitting .313/.345/.602 with 5 HR since being promoted by the Cubs. It’s tough to believe in a 29-year-old breakout, but for now, he’s playing and contributing.

Jake Meyers: He’s the most interesting and balanced available hitter. In just 39 PA, he is hitting .306/.359/.611 (33% K%, .400 BABIP) with 3 HR and 1 SB. He should continue to get at-bats and it will be intriguing to see who sits in the Astros outfield when Kyle Tucker comes off the IL.

Connor Joe: While he’s still starting every day and leading off, he’s a must-start in his home Colorado starts. The problem is that he’s been horrible (.238/.324/.278) on the road this year.

Aledmys Díaz: With Tucker and Bregman on the IL, Diaz is playing every day while hitting a respectable .304/.352/.485 with 7 HR.

Bradley Zimmer: He’s starting only against righties, but he is providing some speed (10 SB) with a little power (5 HR). He’s more valuable in on-base leagues where his 10% BB% comes into play. Cleveland is scheduled to face four righties this upcoming week.

Ronald Torreyes: He’s started in 12 straight games while just hitting .247/.308/.361 since the All-Star break. At least he’s hitting with some power with 6 HR this season in 243 PA. In the over 600 PA before this season, he only hit 4 home runs.

Bryan De La Cruz: A .435 BABIP has his triple slash up to .319/.342/.435 for the season. The production has opened up everyday at-bats for him.

Corey Dickerson: He’s a nice one-week outfield option with Springer on the IL.

Bobby Dalbec: He’s hitting just .227/.281/.429 with 14 HR while batting eighth or ninth in the lineup. Travis Shaw and he might be in a first base platoon.

Yonny Hernandez: A speed-only play (24 total SB across all levels) with no power (.022 ISO). At least he’s playing every day.

Tyler Wade: I thought Wade would be a great one-week add but Andrew Velazquez has started most of the games at short. Ignore unless you’re in a daily lineups league and even then there are likely to be better available options.

Jose Barrero: While the Reds top prospect and a top-50 overall prospect, he’s just not starting much (1 game) since being called up. I just don’t see him breaking into the Reds everyday lineup.

Kevin Smith: We rank him as the 12th best Blue Jays prospect before his major league promotion. He looks to bench bat for now.

Catchers

Tucker Barnhart: He’s starting half the time and posting a nice .266 AVG, especially for a catcher.

Jorge Alfaro: He’s getting a few more at-bats by starting in the outfield and at first base. A complete lack of discipline (4% BB%, 34% K%) is limiting his upside. He is one of a handful of stolen base options (7 SB) at catcher this season.

Daulton Varsho: He’s getting at-bats and stealing a few bases (4 SB), but his .217 AVG is a drag. His 14% BB%, does help his value in OBP (.328) and points leagues.

Riley Adams: He’s taken over the primary catching duties in Washington (started four straight) while hitting .333/.412/.600 with 2 HR so far this season.

Luis Torrens: He’s hitting like a catcher with 14 HR and a .213 AVG.

Yohel Pozo: He’s catcher qualified in some leagues and has been Seattle’s DH in five of the last six games. The 24-year-old had a .958 OPS in AAA but only a .625 OPS so far in the majors.

CBS Hitter Rostership Rates
Name Prev Roster% Current Roster% Change
Pavin Smith 1B ARI 39% 41% 2%
Tucker Barnhart C CIN 37% 39% 2%
Evan Longoria 3B SF 35% 37% 2%
Jonathan Villar 3B NYM 32% 36% 4%
Luis Arraez 3B MIN 32% 35% 3%
Daulton Varsho C ARI 31% 33% 2%
Lewis Brinson CF MIA 30% 49% 19%
Corey Dickerson LF TOR 26% 28% 2%
Bobby Dalbec 1B BOS 25% 31% 6%
Jorge Alfaro C MIA 18% 20% 2%
Aledmys Diaz 3B HOU 13% 20% 7%
Luis Torrens C SEA 12% 14% 2%
Nicky Lopez SS KC 9% 13% 4%
Connor Joe LF COL 7% 17% 10%
Jose Barrero SS CIN 6% 10% 4%
Bradley Zimmer CF CLE 5% 7% 2%
Tyler Wade 3B NYY 4% 11% 7%
Frank Schwindel 1B CHC 3% 22% 19%
Yonny Hernandez 2B TEX 2% 5% 3%
Ronald Torreyes SS PHI 2% 4% 2%
Bryan De La Cruz RF MIA 2% 4% 2%
Jake Meyers CF HOU 1% 7% 6%
Kevin Smith DH TOR 1% 4% 3%
Yohel Pozo DH TEX 1% 3% 2%
Riley Adams C WAS 0% 2% 2%

Starters

Reynaldo López: Now that he can see, his season has taken off (1.08 ERA, 3.71 xFIP, 0.72 WHIP, .148 BABIP, 9.4 K/9). A must-add in all leagues.

Elieser Hernandez: While he was bitten by home runs (2.7 HR/9) in his two starts since coming off the IL, I still view him as a must roster in all formats.

Bailey Ober: In the first half, he had a 5.45 ERA and it’s down to 3.23 in the second half. The biggest improvement is from his home runs dropping from 2.5 HR/9 to 1.5 HR/9. He looks to be a 4.00 ERA pitcher which is playable in today’s game.

Reid Detmers: He had a good start against Houston (6 IP, 1 ER, 3 HR, 6 K, and 2 BB). His three non-fastballs (curve, slider, change) all have swinging-strike rates over 14%. The problem is that his fastball is at a 4% Swstr% and 10% GB%. In his start against Houston, he limited his fastball usage to just 37%, so taking steps for improvement. Add now to avoid regret later.

Miles Mikolas: I’m interested in the Kyle Hendricks clone since his fastball velocity is up in his first start off the IL. I’d feel good about starting him in most leagues.

Eric Lauer: He’s off the IL and remains a streamable option (3.44 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, .263 BABIP).

Tyler Anderson: He’s continuing to pitch like a 4.50 ERA pitcher who can be streamed against weaker opponents.

J.A. Happ: The flyball pitcher has been serviceable since joining the Cardinals with a 4.31 ERA and 0.96 WHIP. His ERA estimators haven’t moved and are in the mid-5.00’s range. It’s nice he gets so many games against the NL Central.

Daniel Lynch: He continues to be decent since the All-Star break with a 2.35 ERA (4.69 xFIP) and 1.14 WHIP (.250 BABIP). His biggest improvement is his walk rate dropping from 5.6 BB/9 to 3.2 BB/9.

Carlos Hernández: It seems like he is on the list every week as his rostership slowly climbs. He’s finally getting his walks under control (1.5 BB/9 in August) but his strikeouts have tanked (5.1 K/9). He’s a completely different pitcher when starting and relieving.

Griffin Jax: He’s been decent in the second half with a 2.73 ERA and 0.95 both suppressed by a .183 BABIP. His ERA estimators are around 5.00 during that time. While some regression is expected going forward, he’s making some improvements. His walk from is down (4.1 BB/9 to 2.4 BB/9). His groundball rate is up (27% to 42%). His groundballs are up because he’s throwing his average fastball (6% SwGB%) fewer times (52% to 43%).

Ranger Suárez: He’s finally building up his pitch count since moving to the rotation (33 to 61 to 82 to 86). While he has a 2.45 ERA as a starter, the walks have been an issue (6.1 BB/9) and are contributing to a 1.43 WHIP. Roster and bench.

Nestor Cortes: The Yankees rotation is getting healthy, so Cortez might not start next week. While he’s thrown great (2.56 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 9.6 K/9), it’s tough to know if/when he’ll start.

Mitch White: While he’s been demoted back to AAA, his last three “starts” (a 7.2 IP relief appearance) were a 2.40 ERA, 9.0 K/9, and 0.87 WHIP in 15 IP. It seems like the Dodgers have found themselves another above-average starter.

Antonio Senzatela: A two-start road week ahead with one great (vs Cubs) and one horrible (vs Dodgers) match-up.

Kyle Freeland: I’m not against starting Kyle Freeland on the road. I am against starting him at the Dodgers with Scherzer scheduled to be the opposing starter.

Eli Morgan: The strikeouts (8.9 K/9) and walks (2.0 BB/9) are acceptable, but just a 27% GB% means a ton of batted balls in the air and many are going for home runs (2.0 HR/9). He was making some inroads but his groundball rate has dropped over his last few starts.

Drew Rasmussen: He’s at least getting one more start against the Phillies next week. Taking the 13 innings as a starter into account he has a 2.77 ERA (3.29 xFIP), 0.69 WHIP (.138 BABIP), 8.3 K/9, and 57% GB% (0.7 HR/9). I’m a little worried about him going deep into games since he is basically a fastball-slider pitcher. Also, he has yet to face a lineup for the third time this season.

Keegan Thompson: He’s been a bit lucky (.228 BABIP) and his unsustainable 4.9 BB/9 will come back to haunt him. Especially with a 1.6 HR/9.

Justin Steele: The 3.22 ERA and 1.25 WHIP look good, but he’s struggled as a starter (5.00 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 6.0 K/9). For now, I’m not sure he’s rosterable in the rotation.

Tyler Gilbert: The 27-year-old lefty threw a no-hitter and then he gave up nine hits and four runs in Colorado. It’s two extreme games making it tough to evaluate him. For now, I’m observing from a distance.

Mike Foltynewicz: Who the hell was adding Folty? Did he mysteriously become talented? He’s not involved in a two-start week. He has a 3.00 ERA in August with his ERA estimators around 5.00 (5.3 K/9, 3.0 BB/9). He’s still shitty.

CBS Starter Rostership Rates
Name Prev Roster% Current Roster% Change
Elieser Hernandez SP MIA 33% 46% 13%
Tyler Anderson SP SEA 32% 37% 5%
Carlos Hernandez RP KC 30% 42% 12%
Ranger Suarez RP PHI 30% 36% 6%
J.A. Happ SP STL 24% 31% 7%
Reid Detmers SP LAA 24% 28% 4%
Griffin Jax SP MIN 20% 41% 21%
Daniel Lynch SP KC 20% 34% 14%
Eric Lauer SP MIL 19% 27% 8%
Miles Mikolas SP STL 14% 23% 9%
Kyle Freeland SP COL 14% 22% 8%
Nestor Cortes RP NYY 10% 23% 13%
Mike Foltynewicz SP TEX 8% 10% 2%
Bailey Ober SP MIN 7% 12% 5%
Justin Steele RP CHC 7% 11% 4%
Antonio Senzatela SP COL 6% 9% 3%
Elijah Morgan SP CLE 5% 10% 5%
Reynaldo Lopez RP CHW 4% 20% 16%
Keegan Thompson RP CHC 1% 3% 2%
Tyler Gilbert RP ARI 1% 36% 35%
Drew Rasmussen RP TB 1% 4% 3%

Relievers – Saves based rankings

Alex Colomé: OK reliever who is the closer.

Mychal Givens: OK reliever who is the closer.

Tyler Clippard: Decent reliever who is the closer.

Paul Sewald: Great reliever who is temporarily the closer.

Anthony Bender: Good reliever who might be the closer.

Joe Barlow: Good reliever who was the closer but is now on the IL.

Chad Green: Good reliever who might be the backup closer.

Tyler Matzek: Good reliever who is second in line to be the closer.

Drew Steckenrider: OK reliever who is temporarily the backup closer.

Collin McHugh: Good long reliever.

Brent Suter: Good long reliever.

Zack Littell: Below-average reliever who recently lucked into a couple of Saves.

CBS Starter Rostership Rates
Name Prev Roster% Current Roster% Change
Alex Colome RP MIN 39% 48% 9%
Paul Sewald RP SEA 30% 32% 2%
Chad Green RP NYY 23% 28% 5%
Tyler Clippard RP ARI 15% 17% 2%
Mychal Givens RP CIN 14% 33% 19%
Anthony Bender RP MIA 12% 14% 2%
Collin McHugh RP TB 10% 12% 2%
Brent Suter RP MIL 10% 12% 2%
Tyler Matzek RP ATL 6% 8% 2%
Joe Barlow RP TEX 5% 14% 9%
Mitch White RP LAD 4% 12% 8%
Drew Steckenrider RP SEA 4% 6% 2%
Zack Littell RP SF 1% 3% 2%





Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won four FSWA Awards including on for his Mining the News series. He's won Tout Wars three times, LABR once, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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TheBabbomember
8 months ago

Varsho’s seasonal numbers aren’t particularly impressive, but you also need to consider his production over the past month (though still only 77 PA): .333/.421/.682, 6 HR, 15 R, 13 RBI.

ahduth
8 months ago
Reply to  TheBabbo

Yeah I don’t know exactly what happened there? In July, I want to say it might have even been right after the all-star break, it’s like he flipped the switch, and since then he’s been a must-roster. Could be a mirage, but he was a highly touted prospect.